A 21-year-old man who killed a 14-week-old baby he was meant to be looking after has been handed a life sentence. Surender Singh Mehrok who was named after a court order removed a ban protecting his anonymity, killed baby Richard Royal Uddin in 2016, the New Zealand Herald is reporting.
Mehrok was watching over the baby of a woman he was in a casual relationship with when the incident occurred. Forensic evidence showed that the baby had suffered multiple fractures and a cracked skull synonymous with a high-speed car collision.
Mehrok who was 19-years-old at the time admitted to causing the infant’s death, but denied doing it intentionally. He must serve at least 14 years and six months of his life term before he is eligible for parole. He is planning to appeal the sentence, by citing manslaughter instead. However, no date has been penciled for a hearing with the Court of Appeal.
Justice Mary Peters said it was likely that Mehrok did not kill the baby on purpose, but stated that he assaulted him knowing that it could lead to fatal injuries. The jury towed the same line saying it might not have been Mehrok’s intention to kill the boy, but he was aware that his fragile body could not withstand the assault.
According to the Daily Mail, the evidence presented to the court about cause of death was endorsed by three doctors who explained that the blunt trauma the baby suffered was synonymous with hitting a hard surface with brutal force which eventually led to swelling and bleeding in his brain.
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Postmortem examinations and several CT scans revealed that the 14-week-old baby had fractures on both sides of his skull as well as to the back of his scalp. Dr. Vivienne Hobbs, who tried to resuscitate the baby when the mother brought him to hospital, also confirmed he had several brain lacerations. Uddin had a flattened and distorted head from the injuries measuring 13cm by 9.5cm. There was also a weave pattern etched across the back of his skull.
Dr. Dianne Vertes told members of the jury that baby Richard, bumping his head against the wall or even being accidentally dropped could not have caused his injuries.
The third expert, pediatric radiologist Dr. Russell Metcalfe confirmed that the 3D imaging of the infant’s skull and CT scans revealed significant bleeding and “gross” brain swelling that were just “too many to count.” He said in his 23 years in the profession, he ranked the baby’s injuries high up in the severity category.
The prosecutor, Anna Pollett had told the court that it was no accident when Richard’s skull was “cracked like an egg,” by the defendant with a full intent to cause his death.
“This was no accident…this was an extreme amount of force inflicted on a defenseless 14-week-old…he assaulted Richard with the intent to kill him, or diced with the risk that it would cause his death.”